Friday, 27 March 2015

Winter pansies hat

After seeing all the beautiful colour work paraded around at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, I was itching to come home and cast on a little project of my own, especially to try out our brand new solid colours in the Ullcentrum 2ply wool. 
Aware of that spring was coming and the hearty, double-layered wool probably (hopefully) won't be much use in a couple of months, I chose something small and quick, and Karie Westermann's Gillean Hat was just the thing : a very well written, straight forward pattern which features some really nifty decreases on the crown and simple motifs to ease you into colour work if you haven't done it before. 
And I just love this yarn, the rich velvety colours, the soft sheepiness, the way it blooms after a soak. I particularly love the fabric it makes in colour work, stiffer and more solid than just plain knit - I really can't wait to make myself a little jacket in this for the autumn!

Pattern: Gillean Hat by Karie Westermann
Yarn: Ullcentrum 2ply Solids - Plum and Lion, one of each
Needles: 3mm for the ribbing, 3.5 for the hat

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Wonderful Edinburgh!

Edinburgh Yarn Festival.
What can I say?
What an amazing, exciting, vibrant, tiring event to have been a part of!

The rental company spoilt me with their newest, shiniest van, MP3 player and all, and we thundered through the country in great comfort on Friday morning, although I struggled to keep it on the road once I started gawping at the snow covered hills in the Lake District, and the bouncing spring lambs in the Borders.

After many many coffee stops, we eventually arrived to set up at the Corn Exchange mid-afternoon. We off-loaded all the boxes and then sort of stood there and stared at them for a bit. By then I was far too busy trying to find out what pattern sweater one of the organisers was wearing because I NEEDED one like it RIGHT NOW , and snooping around at what everyone else was unpacking.

Eventually we did manage to turn the stall into something a bit more professional-looking and retired to our very comfortable and quiet hotel room and didn't make it any further than the downstairs restaurant for dinner, once more falling asleep in our pints by 9pm!

A good night's sleep later though, we were ready to face Saturday. We arrived early for some last minute tweaks and to check out the car boot sale next door. And then the doors opened....
This was pretty much the view I had of our stall for the duration of the day:

So much excitement, so many wonderful comments from lovely people! Having mostly done shows in the south of England so far, I noticed a real difference in people's tastes in Scotland, much closer, in fact, to Scandinavian ones. People were hugely excited about our "proper" wools, the once that are a bit crisp and smell of sheep and ideally have some twigs spun into them. I also noticed that the visitors to the festival were wearing vastly more colour work than I've seen down south, which was hugely inspiring.

Sunday was still very busy, but more mellow than Saturday. Leaving the stall in Mark's capable hands (he was far more photographed over than weekend than I was, including by Stephen West as he was wearing a Boneyard Shawl in our linen yarn), I got a chance to explore the festival myself (although I still missed loads!) and catch up with some friends and meet some new ones too (none of which I had the presence of mind to take pictures of, sorry!). Eden Cottage Yarns were there on their huuuuge stand, ready to share their show experience...and tools. Juliet and John from John Arbon were cheerful as always and either had the exact same conversation twice with both Mark and myself, or Mark and I were too tired to remember that we were standing right next to each other when the conversation took place....frankly by the end of the weekend we didn't quite know our own names anymore.
We also had a visit from Enrico from Parisian yarn shop Les Tricoteurs Volants, showing off his shawl in our gradient lace weight Ullcentrum that he bought in Brighton last summer.

My two favourite new discoveries were the wonderfully cheerful Siidegarte - sumptuous silk heavy blends from Switzerland in glorious, shiny colours

picture by Siidegarte

and the gorgeous, soft Alpaca Tweed from The Border Mill with the best illustrations ever. I wanted to buy most of their stall just to collect the labels!

In the end, this was my reasonably restrained haul (so many shows still to come this year, I had to try to be good!):

Springy pastel green Alpaca Tweed for my mother, along with the Aisling kit from Eden Cottage yarns, and a couple of naturally dyed silk/wool mini hanks from Shilasdair.
His and Hers hanks of indigo dyed yarn from The Border Tart - DK for a hat for Mark, sock yarn for actual socks for me.
A last minute ball of Alpaca Tweed for myself too, although Mark seems to think that it's a much more "him" sort of colour and won't suit me at all and shouldn't be taking up space in my stash and he 'll gladly take it off my hands. He is so selfless like that.
One thing I'm not sharing is the ball of liquid gold - I will take a better picture at some stage - my real, unnecessary yarn splurge of the weekend: Handmaiden Mini Maiden - silk/wool singles in the most glorious, shiny colour way, brought over all the way from Canada by La Maison Tricotee and expertly wound by the Teapot Trust who were operating a charity winding station at the show.
And finally, in lieu of tartan-everything from the Royal Mile, a "couthy" Blanket from the Knockando woollen mill - soft and light in beautiful warm mustards and reds.

picture by Knockando Mill

And of course, on order, 5 hanks of custom dyed silk and linen from Siidegarte for a very special project of mine still to come :)

Monday morning we still had a quick visit of Edinburgh. Neither of us had ever been, but even after just a quick whistlestop taking in the views, a little bagpipe busking and a veggie full Scottish, we were rather smitten and are already more excited than Christmas that the organisers have announced plans for the next one next year!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Gearing up for Edinburgh

We've been looking forward to it all winter, and it seemed so far away, but now Edinburgh Yarn Festival is nearly upon us!

Only two more sleeps and then it's time for our epic road trip to Scotland....where I've never been!
I'm genuinely excited about the journey itself - I love driving and especially driving vans, and my Scottish friend has given me instructions for the most scenic routes and best services so providing we survive the crack of dawn start and don't get stuck in Bristol*, it should be a good trip.


Home is a hive of activity right now, we've had re-stocking deliveries in from all our suppliers to make sure our shelves are full and inviting: batches of worsted weight Pirkkalanka ready to become sweaters, beautiful Gotland wool, a couple of new Linen colours including a fantastic red....and these:

These are solid colours Ullcentrum 2-ply. Same as our gradient 2-ply, same beautiful Swedish wool, just in solid colours...and I'm a bit in love. The yarn feels soft but still characteristically woolly, and the colours are rich and velvety. I can see these working beautifully in traditional fairisle patterns, or as a contrast to a gradient in stripes. Every time I walk past the box I pick up a hank and give it a little squish and a pet...

Mark will be labelling all those today while I continue working up a new sample in the laceweight Ullcentrum: I had an urge to show off the very popular Cerise-Orange gradient so hopefully I will have it ready in time for Saturday!

Looking forward to seeing you there :)

*having now looked at an actual map, I ve realised we're not even supposed to go through Bristol. good start...